The range topping Corvette goes topless for only the second time in its history
Two weeks after Chevrolet revealed 'The King' Corvette ZR1 it has now unveiled a convertible version, only the second of its kind since the original launched in 1970.
The engine remains the same as in the coupe; an 'LT5' 6.2-litre supercharged V8 with 755hp and 715lb ft sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual or - in a first for the ZR1 - an optional paddle-shift eight-speed automatic.
Aerodynamically, the ZR1 comes fitted with a 'Low Wing' that is said to promote "road-holding downforce with minimal drag", allowing for a top speed of 212mph. An adjustable 'High Wing' forms part of the Performance Package (larger front splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, magnetic ride control) that is designed to help generate faster lap times with up to 430kg of downforce. Naturally, with the Performance Pack fitted the top speed is lowered, but even so hindered the ZR1 will still able to crack 200mph.
Thanks to the Corvette's aluminium chassis, few structural changes were needed to make the car a drop-top; the main challenges being in accommodating the folding roof and repositioning the seat belt mounts. In fact, so rigid was the existing structure that the 27kg weight penalty for going convertible is almost entirely down the soft-top's hardware.
"The new Corvette ZR1 convertible is a supercar in all respects," said Mark Reuss, an Executive VP involved in the project. "Few others can challenge the ZR1 convertible's power and speed while offering the exhilaration of top-down motoring."
Chevrolet are keen to point out that just because its gone soft-top doesn't mean the ZR1's gone soft. A point reiterated by its patent-pending exhaust system, said to offer the most aggressive sound ever for a production Corvette. There are four modes; Stealth - which is quieter even than a standard Z06 - Tour, Sport and Track - which is significantly louder due to a spring-loaded passive valve closing to allow practically unrestricted exhaust flow. Owners had better short shift past the decibel meter on track days if they don't want to see those pesky black flags then.
Prices for the ZR1 coupe and Convertible are $119,995 and $123,995 respectively and both cars will go on sale in Spring next year. Now if only they'd take a leaf out of Ford's book and bring them to the UK...
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